H.& L.M. Sanders
The passion for apple growing began with the boys grandfather Arthur William Sanders who after immigrating to Australia from England purchased 5 acres in Woodhouse Road, Donvale. He further expanded the property to an additional 5 acres, which was surprising as he had hardly any knowledge of the fruit growing industry. Arthur had a son Hugh in 1928 but with Arthur’s lack of knowledge of the industry his son Hugh decided to spend his teenage years working on local orchards gaining the knowledge and experience he would later take back to the family orchard in his 20’s.
A few years after returning to the family orchard Hugh’s father Arthur became ill. Hugh struggled to make enough money from the property and now with a family of 4 children to support he decided to rent several other orchards to increase his income.
By the late 1960s the situation at Woodhouse Road had reached crisis point. The orchard was far too small, rates were prohibitive and Hugh needed a larger property. In 1968 he purchased 22 acres in East Doncaster and during this time his son Kevin joined the family business. This move was short lived due to the impact of urban sprawl and subdivision in the area.
His next orchard move in 1976 was a huge leap of faith. With support from his wife and the bank Hugh took the huge plunge and purchased a 35 acre established apple orchard in Three Bridges, which had been in operation since 1959. The Three Bridges property had a packing shed with a coolstore which had the capacity to store 32,000 cases of apples. This has been expanded to store 75,000 cases today.
Not long after the move to Three Bridges his other two sons Bob and Peter joined the family business and over time they successfully acquired additional land including a property at Gladysdale which saw the business grow into the successful business it is today.
Hugh’s desire to succeed in the industry saw him travel overseas on orchard tours to Japan, New Zealand, America, Canada and England to see trends and advancements in orcharding and marketing, which his 3 sons still continue to this day.
Hard work, passion and strong commitment to innovative practices in agriculture has seen Sanders Orchard grow into an award winning business. In 2010 the Sanders Family was awarded the Hugh McKay award for ‘Innovation in Agriculture’ by the Department of Primary Industries for the development of a 2D tree that would enhance the advancements of mechanical robotics in agriculture.
Hugh continued working the business into his 80’s until his health deteriorated and he passed away in 2014.
In 2018, Sanders Apples opened its doors to the public during the apple picking season to offer people the opportunity to pick their own apples fresh from the tree.